Only 30 people in the nation received the American Psychiatric Nurses Association scholarship. Two of them are nursing students from ETSU.

Motivated by the desire for change and a passion for healthcare, ETSU nursing students Haylea Copas and Erica Mann have been awarded the scholarship.

Through this scholarship, they will be able to attend APNA’s annual conference in Colombus, Ohio. This nationwide conference is for people in the medical psychiatric field to meet and discuss new research.

Copas, an undergraduate student, and Mann, a graduate student, are both excited to have received the scholarship and are looking forward to representing the area they’re from.

“I am honored to be representing ETSU,” Mann said.

The conference allows people in psychiatrics to talk about concerns they have that are particular to their area. Copas is looking forward to being one of the voices for this part of Tennessee.

“When I found that out I thought ‘Wow! What better place to represent than East Tennessee,’” Copas said.

She hopes that by going to this conference, concerns for the lack of, what she believes to be, necessary mental health facilities will be heard.

“We have the opportunity to bring up needs from the area that we’re from,” Copas said. “We have a few of what are called crisis stabilization units, but we don’t have any long-term psych facilities in this area. Through my rotations, I’ve seen a very desperate need for that here.”

Both Copas and Mann are motivated by what they’ve witnessed throughout their time studying psychiatrics and developed a strong passion for the field. Through her career, Mann hopes to shed a light on things like suicide and depression.

“Personal and professional reasons have drawn me to this,” Mann said. “I’ve lost two people to suicide. When I started working in a pediatric residential facility, it made me want to go back to school, because I never realized an 11-year-old could be suicidal.”

Despite it not being her first time to attend a professional conference, Mann is grateful for the scholarship that makes going to this event affordable and possible. After two previous careers in the medical field, this opportunity will help her achieve her goals as a medical professional.

“I was hoping to go the conference,” Mann said. “I’ve signed up for a lot of different sessions that will help me learn about new techniques and different populations, like adolescents.”

Copas believes that because of the scholarship she’s received and the opportunities it offers, she will be able to pinpoint what exactly she wants to do in the future.

“This experience is going to help decide what I want to focus on,” Copas said. “I do want to go back to graduate school eventually, and when I do, I want to study psych.”